About phono amp gain setting for needledrop....

Discussion in 'Vinyl Nutjob World: Turntable and Related Gear' started by wnmnkh, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. wnmnkh

    wnmnkh Friend

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    So, I am still working on needledrops. My quick question is.... is higher phono amp gain better for needledrop in terms of sound quality?
     
  2. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    No, you want the right amount the gain depending on your cartridge and your ADC
     
  3. Azteca

    Azteca Friend

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    Check out the bottom: http://www.needledoctor.com/FAQs/Phono-Preamp-FAQs
    Also: https://www.kabusa.com/pregain.htm
    And lastly: http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/taking-the-guesswork-out-of-phonostage-gain-1/

    Gain is not a "free lunch" as it will only be as clean as your phono stage. You don't want to crank it unnecessarily and you don't want to overload your ADC. If you take photos, think of it like ISO: very useful but after a certain point it will start introducing noise. But if you set it way too low and try to fix it in post, you'll have to crank up exposure and then you'll find noise there too. In audio terms that means you would be raising the whole signal and thus raising the noise floor along with it so what was previously inaudible may now become audible. So you want the "goldilocks" amount - not too much, not too little. The sweet spot between getting your phono stage's best performance and also providing enough juice to the ADC as to not require excessive gain. If you have a 24-bit ADC and are peaking at -20 or -12 you're doing just fine. 6dB = 1 bit, so you'd still be getting well over 16 bits of performance.
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Crank up the gain as much as possible taking into consideration the following:
    1. You don't want to overload your ADC. Mostly probably won't be an issue with pro gear. What Azteca said.
    2. You don't want to overload your phono preamp. Higher gain on the phono preamp means less headroom. The phono preamp will only be able to output so much voltage before distortion or clipping.
     
  5. shaizada

    shaizada Friend

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    wow, perfect answers above! :) As a general thing with needle drops, I like to keep the gain levels such that the loudest peak from the album hits around -3db (which I check on the ADC). You tend to get the best headroom out of the recordings that way. If your peak goes past 0db, trim it back a bit. Best to get nice clean recordings that don't clip on anybody's equipment. Normally, people can turn it up without fear as most people have way more gain than they really need.
     
  6. shipsupt

    shipsupt Admin

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    Can't resist...
     
  7. wnmnkh

    wnmnkh Friend

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    Thank you for the detailed answers.
     

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